In Gilbert Doctorow, Russia, Ukraine

TASS © AP Photo/Roman Chop

By Gilbert Doctorow,

Published on the author’s own website, Jan 21, 2023:

Gilbert Doctorow provides a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) in the wake of recent events and draws his own grim conclusions on the likely outcome.

This is the advice which social media say the U.S. Government is today giving to the Zelensky regime in Kiev. It follows by a day or two the public release by German intelligence operatives of their own assessment of the latest course of the war, saying that the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to advancing Russian ground units in Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), just as the defense of Soledar (lost to the Russians a week ago) was and is a death trap set by the Russians for the Ukrainians. As the U.S. overlords understand today, continued losses of Ukrainian forces in these hopeless PR stunts are compromising any chances of their making a spring counteroffensive when the advanced military gear now being shipped to them arrives and is put into the field.

What conclusion can we reach from “withdraw from Artyomovsk”?  Very simply that the notion of 1:1 death and ingured rates that the Anglosaxon news disseminators have been shouting for weeks to slant the news towards some “stalemate” between the opposing sides is pure nonsense.  It would be safer to follow the figures put out by the Russian military, which indicate a 10:1 imbalance in casualties on the Ukrainian side.

Meanwhile, the big news in the past 24 hours was the meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in the German army base at Ramstein. This was most notable for the failure of the defense ministers of the 50 participating countries to reach any agreement over delivery of tanks to the Ukrainians. Tanks are allegedly needed to support Ukraine’s spring counter offensive, with the objective not merely to push back the Russians to the line of demarcation in Donbas prior to the start of the Special Military Operation, but even to recapture the Crimea.

The central issue at Ramstein was German Chancellor Scholz’s refusal to send in German Leopard heavy tanks or to allow the many NATO countries where Leopards are held in the inventory to send any of their tanks to Kiev.  Scholz is said to insist the Americans first ship their own Abrams tanks to Kiev before Germany will lift a finger.  And why is he being so stubborn in resisting all the jackal states in NATO on this very issue? Western reports say he is fearful of leading the pack on delivery of tanks and incurring special Russian wrath.

Let us decode this message:  the German chancellor is not some indecisive imbecile, as our newspapers hint.  No, he is a cunning fox who is unwilling to allow Washington to send him and Europe to hell in what could easily become a Russia-NATO hot war if the Russian red lines forbidding heavy armaments deliveries are crossed.

So all the Ukrainians will get by way of new weapon systems as per the decisions announced yesterday in Ramstein are token deliveries of armored personnel carriers and armored machine gun and cannon vehicles that one might just call light tanks.   That and a lot more howitzers of every variety coming from several different NATO countries.

But in terms of the big picture, what difference would tanks make?   The vision of big tank warfare across the Ukrainian steppes that underlies the Washington war scenario is fallacious.  As I have pointed out repeatedly, despite the lies and PR blasts from Washington and London, the war is being fought according to the Russian scheme, not the U.S. scheme.

We have heard how poorly the Russians coordinate air and ground.  We have heard how they just cannot put together any good shock and awe. But this is beside the point.  The Russians are waging an artillery war for good reasons:  they have the world’s largest manufacturing industry of cannon, multi-rocket field launchers and munitions and they are waging a war of attrition on the ground which can only favor their armies.

If the slaughter of Ukrainians continues at its present rate, if the United States and its allies cannot ramp up munitions production, if the destruction of the Ukrainian energy infrastructure continues, if the logistics for conveying Western military supplies to the front are further impaired, then the Russians will find themselves against a disarmed Ukrainian army some time in the early spring, and they may get the capitulation they seek without shock and awe heroics.

In saying this, I acknowledge my own misreading of the Russian war plans, since I expected them to deliver the death blow to Kiev some time ago. But then I am joined in this misreading by many others who actually have military expertise guiding their assessments, such as Col. Douglas MacGregor.

Who laughs last, laughs best. And that may well explain the sardonic smile we see from time to time in President Putin’s public statements about the course of the war effort.

That is not to say that we can sleep calmly in the belief that the end of the war is nigh.  There are risks arising as the inevitability of a Russian victory sinks into thick skulls at the Pentagon.  The latest risks come from those saying publicly in Washington that the Ukrainians must be given longer range missiles so that they can strike directly at Russian military installations in Crimea if not in Central Russia.  Such extravagant plans for the conquest of Russia can lead only to a nuclear response from Moscow and…the end of civilization as we know it.


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